This week, our classroom character Dex informed the students that he was going to go on a trip somewhere in the world. Before he left on his travels he wanted the students to infer where he was going. Dex left them a poem which contained three clues. He said the continent he would be going to had a "t" in its name, was vast and wedged between the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean. To learn the continents and oceans the students started making papier mache globes. They also were given the opportunity to play continent twister during innovation stations time. As an extension of this activity, students also used persuasive writing to explain why or why not Dex should travel the world alone.
This week, the students created posters to promote our show. These posters incorporated curriculum expectations in media literacy, writing and mathematics. The students first thought about the target audience that they were making the poster for. They used a graphic organizer to include all the details needed to reach that audience (parents, siblings, schoolmates and administration). To create the images for the posters students also experimented with different angles, parallel lines and polygons.
This week the students continued to work on building their inferring skills. After having studied many texts such as Follow the Drinking Gourd and learning about the Underground Railroad the students examined the book The Patchwork Path. Students had already learned that in order to escape on the Underground Railroad, slaves used secret maps that were hidden in songs and symbols in quilt squares. Before reading this text, the students did a picture walk of the book. Drawing from the pictures and their background knowledge, the students inferred what each quilt square in the book represented. They needed to use evidence from their picture or their background knowledge to back up their predictions.
Following The Patchwork Path Lesson, the students examined the book Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. During this lesson the students paid close attention to the actions taken by the main character Clara in the book. We stopped reading this book half-way through. Based on their prior knowledge gained from the books they had read on The Underground Railroad the students were asked to infer what further actions Clara would take. They needed to use evidence from the story and background knowledge to back up their predictions.
This week the students have continued to work on our whole class project of putting on a musical together. Watching the students take ownership of their own learning in this project has been a really rewarding experience. Each morning when the students come into the class they are permitted to work on an independent project of their choice for the first 20 minutes of the day before we assemble for our Daily News routine. This week during this time, without any prompting I witnessed how the students gathered in groups to work on their lines, create the set and design costumes. Even my most reluctant writers eagerly wrote out the steps involved to creating the props needed on stage and how they designed their creations.
This week the students finished decoding the song, "Follow the Drinking Gourd". After they had finished this, they read over the musical on this topic that they will be putting on for our school community. The students signed up to play actors, set designers, costume designers and chorus members. They were all so pleased to find out which part they received.
This month is African Heritage Month in Canada. To explore this theme, the students started studying the Underground Railroad. Through our inquiry, we learned that slavery was illegal in Canada in 1833 but it was not outlawed in the United States until 1865. As a result of this, many slaves escaped on the Underground Railroad to Canada to find freedom. The students studied the song "Follow the Drinking Gourd." This song was written by a man called Peg-Leg Joe. It held a secret message that would lead the slaves to freedom. Together, we used information from our schema (our background knowledge) and clues in the book we were reading to uncover the secret map to freedom in the song.
This week the students participated in a series of performances and presentations. During Learning Buddies with our Kindergarten friends the students watched the Stop Motion videos they had created with Barry during our weekly Switcheroo. During Writing Centres time students also worked on creating stories and using the computer to edit them. When they were finished they presented these stories to our class and then Kelly's grade 1/2 class. Another activity we brought out during Writing Centres was creating ribbon dances (having indoor recess so much this week we needed a way to get our wiggles out!) and recording these dances using procedural writing. The students presented these dances in front of the class.
This week the students in room 101 had the opportunity to visit Crawford Lake and see how the Wendat First Nations People would have lived 600 years ago. The students actively chose this trip while completing their research projects on the First Nations People of Canada. Consolidating what they had learned through their research made this trip very meaningful to the students and they voted it the "Best Trip Ever!!!".
On our hike through the forest, students learned how the First Nations people helped the early settlers survive in the late 1600s-1700s. The First Nations people showed settlers how they could use cedar tea to cure scurvy, and use hemlock and juniper as medicine. They showed them how to use snowshoes in the winter, and keep warm by making clothing of animal furs.
Our leader Mandy, showed us how the Wendat people of this area set up their longhouses. These longhouses would have to be rebuilt every 15 years. She showed us how the Wendat built platforms along the side of the longhouses which were used for the storage of food and for sleeping. As fire pits were used in the inner walkway of the longhouses the Wendat people slept on the lower bunks as the rising smoke would be worse on the upper levels. Mandy showed us how the Wendat made mattresses from cedar leaves and animal furs to sleep on. The natural oils of the cedar would ward off mosquitos.
This week during Writing Centres, students were able to use the chrome books to work on creating, editing and publishing their original stories. Students learned how to use the spell-check button to fix misspelled words, the microphone to use voice to text assistance and insert pictures in their stories using google.